In the coming weeks, if you find yourself brought to tears watching penguins waddle around the Arctic, deeply moved by slow-motion footage of a cheetah running at full speed, or emotional because of a beautifully migrating school of fish, then you probably owe a debt of gratitude to Hans Zimmer. The legendary film composer is best known for his musical contributions to films like The Lion King and Inception, and he's also one of the composers of the BBC America nature documentary series Planet Earth II, which premieres in the US on February 18.
To hype up the debut, Zimmer brought an orchestra to The Late Show with Stephen Colbert and performed some of the series' musical score. With footage of soaring birds, growing fungi, and even a swimming sloth playing in the background, Zimmer and his orchestra ran through a dramatic and swelling composition that mirrors the majesty of the documentary's natural subject matter. Classical documentary scores are obviously an unconventional choice for a late night musical guest, but risks like this seem to pay off, especially when you can put a monolithic figure like Zimmer before a TV audience.
There was a dual purpose to Zimmer's Colbert stop, since he was also there to promote his upcoming world tour, which will see the composer performing some of his classic works around the world from April to June. If you're still not convinced of the importance of an effective TV or film score (or every if you are), this illuminating video (below) from YouTube channel Every Frame a Painting does a wonderful job at demonstrating why certain scores work, and why others do not.
Featured image: CBS